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Results: 1 - 15 of 25
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Okay. Thank you.
Am I right in saying that the events of the last several years, including the democracy activities, the pro-democracy demonstrations going on for some years...? Was any of this foretold during your period as ambassador in China, or is that something that was all after you left?
Robert Wright
View Robert Wright Profile
Robert Wright
2020-11-24 19:06
It was all after I left.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister.
I'd like to just build on that last question. Hong Kong police have reportedly been instigating violence during the Hong Kong protests, and there are no guarantees of any actual merit to charges laid for rioting, which may be considered a crime in Canada.
Can the minister confirm that the Hong Kong protesters who were arrested or facing charges for rioting or illegal assembly prior to the passage of the national security law will not be deemed inadmissible?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
I understand the finer point you're putting on the question, Ms. Kwan, and, again, I appreciate it. I would simply reiterate the principle that no one will be deemed inadmissible simply because they have been charged under the national security law or if they have not committed what would be considered a crime under Canadian law. Those are well-established principles. They have served us well.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
I realize that those are the talking points of the minister, but I just want to bring to the minister's attention that according to Hong Kong Watch, around 10,000 Hong Kong protesters had been arrested prior to the passage of the national security law, and approximately 40% of those were students. Right now, as I understand it, about 400 of those have been charged with rioting. I'm very worried about whether or not those individuals would actually qualify and be able to apply for asylum and would not be deemed inadmissible. I ask the minister to consider this and to make the necessary changes to ensure that Hong Kongers actually get the support they need. The answer the minister provided does not provide clarity at all.
The government says that it supports the people of Hong Kong, yet in the minister's announcement last week there were no refugee measures for those who are still in Hong Kong who fear persecution because of their participation in pro-democracy protests and rallies. So why did the minister not provide any refugee measures for these pro-democracy asylum seekers? Is it because of the threats made by the Chinese ambassador?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Kwan, we make decisions that are in the best interests of Canada, and with respect I would say that the two policies that I announced are there to enhance the protections for those who have simply exercised their rights—including peaceful protesters—which will not be a bar. Those were concerns expressed by the community. Those concerns are reflected in the two policies that were part of our announcement last week.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
As I said, Ms. Kwan, and I think you know, Canada's work on the international stage when it comes to granting asylum is second to none. We have been recognized by the United Nations and others. The immigration plan that I tabled more than two weeks ago ensures that there are additional allocations for refugees—and we will continue to show leadership in this area—in addition to the two policy enhancements that were announced last week.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Minister, you just said something interesting. You said, “it has never been easier for families to reunite.” I'm wondering if the protesters outside of your office might disagree with that.
Anyway, Minister, you've also said repeatedly during this committee today, and also previously, that no one will be prohibited from claiming asylum or applying to any other immigration program solely by virtue of having been charged under China's national security law. We know that there are only a few dozen people who have been charged under the national security law, but over 10,000 were arrested and 2,000 charged for protesting, which many believe is politically motivated from the Communist Party of China.
Will those charged under other protest-related charges, excluding the national security law, be permitted to come to Canada, as per your announcement last week?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Again, I think we're going over covered ground, Ms. Dancho.
There are principles that are well in place that ensure no one will be disqualified from making a claim to our asylum system if they have not been charged, as well as a much broader set of conduct where one may be exercising their right to protest but that does not amount to a crime known to Canadian law. With respect to—
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
On that exact point, Minister, that's my next question.
Protesters in Hong Kong have been charged, for example, with rioting, unlawful assembly and uttering seditious words. All three of these laws are laws in Canada. As a result, and as per your remarks just now, will these protesters be denied entry into Canada?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Dancho, all I can do, again, is reiterate what the principle is. It is not for me to adjudicate that admissibility screening. That is a function that is performed, as you would well expect, by our public safety branch, and so—
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
I understand, but you know the rules. Those are Canadian laws as well. Would they not be permitted? Would they not be allowed in Canada, then, just under what you've just said? You know the rules, so....
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Dancho, I do know the rules, and I have been explaining them on a number of occasions now. They will be applied very rigorously by our public safety branch to protect the safety and security of the Canadian people.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
All right. Well, we'll just go on.
I've heard from many pro-democracy activists here in Canada that a number of activists on the front lines in Hong Kong, following an arrest and participating in protests, often have their travel documents taken from them by the Chinese communist security forces. Grandma Wong is an example of this. There are many others. What is your plan to help those without travel documents, or those who are barred from leaving Hong Kong and China, to get to Canada, to safety?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
First, I would just point out, as you heard me say earlier in answer to Ms. Yip, that our consul general and all of our staff at the office in Hong Kong stand at the ready.
In addition to that, under our modernized system, we have an electronic travel authorization that can be obtained literally in minutes, which is one way in which people will be able to move from Hong Kong back to Canada if they are eligible under one of the existing pathways, or under the initiative that I announced last week.
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